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 May 13 - 19, 2004 

Music to Your Ears

By Michael Henningsen

In response to my statement of two weeks ago in which I wrote that Unit 7 Drain were among two bands that "whined like babies" about their time slot and/or venue placement, several members of the band cited conflicts with their employment schedules as the reason for requiring a time slot later than 9 p.m. Sounds reasonable enough. Apologies therefore to Unit 7 Drain, their fans and anyone who thought I was too big an asshole to acknowledge my own mistakes and apologize for them. Rage Against the Machine, however, offered no such explanation, threatening instead to write a letter to the editor (a.k.a. Yours Truly) challenging me to a public brawl. The arrival of said letter—and brawl—is still anxiously awaited. ... This past Saturday night I managed to drag my crusty ol' ass out to the Launchpad for the Icky and the Yuks tour kick-off. I felt young again ... until about 12:30 a.m., but I did manage to make it all the way through part of Icky's set. Other highlights of the evening were masterful, thunderous sets by Fivehundred and Black Maria, not to mention the always slightly disturbing Beefcake in Chains. Head 'Cake Steve Eiland won the award for best Icky-themed T-shirt, which I can't comfortably describe even in this rag. Anyway, Icky are on the road for the next 12 days or so, returning just in time for Jay Collins and Richard Trott to catch the plane that will deliver them to a fishing boat off the coast of Alaska for about six weeks. No, really.

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Blue Note

By Michael Henningsen

White Men Can Jump

Charlie Musselwhite's Chicago Blues

Along with Paul Butterfiled, Mississipi-born, Memphis-rasied harpist Charlie Musselwhite can be credited for giving the so-called white blues movement of the '60s a leg to stand on. Already a master of the blues harp by his late teens, the then twentysomething Musselwhite had moved to Chicago and begun to absorb the intricacies of its urban blues sound. It's a style that Musselwhite has remained faithful to for the better part of 40 years. Still, the 60-year-old musician is regarded as one of the most adventurous bluesmen around, within his chosen idiom. And he's got 14 W.C. Handy awards and half a dozen Grammy nominations to prove it.

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Music Magnified

Brother

By Michael Henningsen

Thursday, May 13; Puccini's Golden West Saloon (21 and over, 9 p.m.): Guess what! It hasn't all been done before. It's safe to say that Australian-born, Los Angeles-based trio, Brother, are the first to eschew guitars in favor of dueling bagpipes in a rock format that draws on everything from Beach Boys-esque harmonies and sunny, SoCal pop to Latin rhythms and ancient, Aboriginal drones. And that's not to mention the Celtic undertones that drive most of the songs on their new album, Urban Cave.

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Music Magnified

The Lovemakers

with Sekiden, Leiahdorus and Brixton Ex

By Rachel Heisler

Thursday, May 13; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): An undeclared, unspoken '80s-style electropop revival is taking place thanks to the Lovemakers—yet another fashionable band born and bred in the Big Apple. The band, which in the past was much more polished, has taken an evolutionary step backwards in its songwriting.

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Sonic Reducer

By Michael Henningsen

Various Artists Spin the Bottle: An All-star Tribute to KISS (Koch)

Frankly, this is one of the worst albums I've ever heard—a sonic travesty even by my forgiving '80s metal standards. Every washed-up member of every washed-up band you can think of appear in various configurations, churning out pedestrian versions of the same old KISS songs that have been remade dozens of times. So why bother? Because for KISS fans, the accompanying DVD is almost worth the price. Think of it as an if episode of "Behind the Music" without the script or narration—just a bunch of aging rockers further contextualizing KISS with sincere commentary. CD = drink coaster.

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EVENT HORIZON (Sunday, Feb 14)

A Romantic Recital

Boyz II Men • R&B

By August March
On Sunday, Feb. 14, the Legends Theater at Route 66 Casino presents a concert by romantic balladeers and masters of a capella ruminations on love and life, Boyz II Men. An R&B group (now a trio, formerly and originally a quartet) with an affinity for soulful musical wanderings through the heart of human affection, Boyz II Men first made the scene in the 1990s with radio-friendly hits like “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You” and “One Sweet Day,” an epic tune to forever love they recorded with super-chanteuse Mariah Carey. In the years since they rose to the top of the pops, one member, Michael McCary departed the ensemble, leaving an essential trio comprised of tenors Shawn Stockman and Wanya Morris as well as baritone Nathan Morris. Together, these three still bring the flavor of love to life as they tour around a gratefully enchanted planet of men and women. Tickets for this all-ages performance range in price from $35-$70 while romance fills the air beginning at 8pm.
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